March 3, 2016
Retreat. It’s a big word.
It’s an action, or maybe a reaction to turn and run when it’s not looking good. Either you pushed the spouse a little too far and it’s time to tuck your tail and turn your eyes toward the couch, or you put yourself out farther than you should have with your boss and it’s time to wave the white flag. Whatever the situation, a win isn’t likely anymore and it’s time to cut losses. So you retreat.
It’s time to pull away from the front lines for a while. The battle isn’t lost, but you’re out of everything, everybody’s exhausted, they can’t see straight or think straight anymore and it’s time to regroup. We’re not giving up, but it’s time to get away from all the conflict. So you retreat.
It’s a period of intentional respite. The demands of life, the chaos that hides itself in your daily planner seems to have taken over. It’s not so much a battle as an overwhelming sense of “what just happened?” You need to get away from the madness for a while, just to stay sane. So you retreat.
It’s a place you go to find seclusion. It doesn’t even have to be new. It just has to be real and different from the other places. It helps if you can’t drive there on autopilot. There’s something about that place that speaks to your soul. There’s a sense of home, of stillness, of belonging, a sort of return and you long to be there in the parts of you that don’t think, react or anticipate. The closer you get, the more your mind slips somewhere else and the rest of you takes over. Because you need retreat.
We start one today. It’s been building since September for the members of our Cultivate-Young Adult cohort. These young people have come together from all over the Territory in an online spiritual formation course to receive from God and to grow spiritually.
It’s been amazing to work through the course with these great people. We’ll spend the next three days on retreat. We will be immersing ourselves in some of the spiritual disciplines. We will spend a day serving a church community in the area and fasting through lunch. We will open ourselves to a unique Sabbath experience.
We will retreat. We will breathe. We will pray. We will spend time in silence. We will listen. We will share. We will stop. We will not invite God into one second of it, but instead we will, without hesitation, accept God’s invitation to us to step into his purposes for our lives. We will walk. We will swim. We will stand in creation and give thanks. We will see God in one another and seek God in one another.
We will retreat. And at the end of it all, we will pack up and go back to that which has not waited for us. We will step back into the deluge that is life and work and children. We will return refreshed to the place where God has appointed for us.
When will you retreat?